Blizzard has announced the return of the Winter Wonderland event for Overwatch on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. It begins next week and introduces a variety of new content for free, in addition to bringing back some of what we saw last year. And, yes, there are new skins on the way.
As detailed in the new developer update video above, Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan revealed that Winter Wonderland 2017 includes a “long-awaited Hanzo skin” that was previously seen in one of the comics. Roadhog and Junkrat are confirmed to receive new Legendary skins, though they won’t be the only ones included; fans were upset with the number of Legendaries last year. Unfortunately, none of these were actually shown off, and the brief teaser below only shows one of Mei’s existing skins.
Last year’s event saw two maps, King’s Row and Hanamura, get what Blizzard calls a “seasonal pass,” where they’re decorated for the event. Those two will make a return, while the Arena map Black Forest will also receive one of these seasonal passes. Kaplan described this as “one of the most gorgeous jobs [Blizzard’s] environmental artists have ever done.” A limited-time mode, Mei’s Snowball Offensive, will also return and now be playable on both Ecopoint: Antarctica and this winterized version of Black Forest.
Blizzard will also introduce another new Mei-centric Brawl, which Kaplan compared to a boss fight. Mei’s Yeti Hunt pits a team of five Mei players against one Winston player in what sounds a lot like the basic concept of Evolve. The five Meis try to hunt down Winston as he seeks out power-ups. Once he’s collected enough, he’ll enter Primal Rage mode, at which point the Meis have to flee to avoid being killed. Once enough Meis–or Winston–are killed, the game is over.
Kaplan said that, with this mode, Blizzard wanted to try something “fun and different,” admitting it is meant to be silly. He said the point is “just to be fun and light and refreshing for a short period of time,” rather than a serious, truly competitive mode that will be used in esports.
Winter Wonderland launches on all platforms on December 12 as a free update. Presumably this will work like past events, with players receiving a free loot box for logging in and the standard box being replaced by a seasonal version that includes the new, limited-time skins and cosmetics. An end date for the event hasn’t been announced.